Arsenal v AC Milan

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Pictures: First team train ahead of AC Milan game

Arsenal train ahead of AC Milan

We're back in Europa League action on Thursday - and we trained for the final time ahead of our last-16 second leg against AC Milan on Wednesday morning.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey's goals helped us win at San Siro, and both stars were among those involved in our session at London Colney.

Our club photographer was there too, and sent back these pictures:

Pre-Match Report

Arsenal v AC Milan: The Brief

We may have a precious two-goal lead - two away goals no less - heading into this second leg against AC Milan, but results in Europe over the past week should have cleared minds of any complacency.

Having seen Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea all knocked out of the Champions League, we have had our warning. When you consider the scare we got from Ostersunds in the  previous round, when we found ourselves two goals down at the break at the Emirates, we should approach Thursday night's game with extreme caution.
AC Milan had been on a 13-game unbeaten run heading into last week's clash at the San Siro, and while we can be encouraged by our display in Italy, both Arsene Wenger and Aaron Ramsey were at pains to stress that the job is only half done in their pre-match press conference.

Now it is a case of finishing the Rossoneri off, and you can get in the mood for the match by reading our comprehensive pre-match briefing. We’ve got the goals from the first leg, team news, a chat with the manager, match facts, graphics and a chance to have your say.


Wenger on "turning the corner" at the San Siro...

“Consistency is a sign of quality. That is the most important quality for me. But sometimes, when you have a negative spiral, it is difficult to get out. That’s why it was important for us to turn the corner. Especially when you have big games in one week, three games in a week. If you lose the first one then it’s a massive game, like we faced in the cup, and you have more chances to lose the next one. It was important to get out of that [cycle]." 

Wenger on Mkhitaryan


ARSENAL: Cazorla (ankle), Lacazette (knee)

AC MILAN: Davide Calabria (calf), Ignazio Abate (muscle injury), Andrea Conti (knee)

Alexandre Lacazette


Tactical expert Michael Cox:

“Arsenal’s confident 2-0 victory at San Siro last week didn’t show Milan in a particularly good light - after a positive start, they were largely outplayed. They are considerably better than they showed in the first leg, and Rino Gattuso's side are likely to offer more attacking threat here.

"After all, Milan had been in good form recently, and have largely played well under Gattuso. His 4-3-3 system has got the best from his forwards, although last week Milan’s lack of compactness was surprising, with the wide forwards surprisingly slow to retreat and protect the full-backs." 

Aaron Ramsey


Aaron Ramsey on how he assesses the tie after the first leg…

“We saw how good they are and we can’t take our foot off the gas. It’s going to be important for us to treat it as if it’s 0-0, so we can go out there and try to win the game. I think that’s the right mentality and attitude to take into the game." 

Matchday Show: AC Milan (h)

Matchday Show: AC Milan (h)

Team news

Team news: What's the latest ahead of AC Milan?

Alexandre Lacazette

We return to Europa League action on Thursday night when we host AC Milan at Emirates Stadium - but what's the latest team news?

Arsene Wenger faced the media on Wednesday and this is what he said:
on the latest team news…
Basically, some players had a test this morning. Everybody’s available apart from Lacazette who is coming back into training, but is too short to be available for tomorrow.
on Lacazette being available after the international break…
Yes, he’s on track. He had a full session outside today and should be available after the break.

Press conference

'My desire is for Jack to stay... I hope he will'

What is the latest progress on a new contract for Jack Wilshere?

This is what the boss had to say at his pre-match press conference ahead of the AC Milan match:

on Wilshere’s contract situation…
On my side, nothing has changed.

on the chances of him staying…
I don’t know, but Jack will be free at the end of the season. We make a proposal to him, I want him to stay and my desire is to see him linked to the club for the future. I hope he will do it.

on whether he thinks Jack is likely to be named in the England squad…
Yes, I wish he is in the England squad. The vibes I get are positive. I believe he has a good chance to be in there, but we have to leave that to Gareth Southgate. I have enough to do with my job.

Press conference

'We're at the stage where anything is possible'

Aaron Ramsey has proven himself as a man for the big occasion throughout his Arsenal career - and he did it once more at the San Siro last week.

The Arsenal midfielder scored our second goal just before half-time against AC Milan but despite our two-goal lead he says the team will not allow any complacency to creep in ahead of the return match.

on whether he senses the returning of confidence…
I think we needed that result out in Milan. Obviously, it’s been a bit of a tough run of games for us, but we’ve tried in every single game. Sometimes these things just happen where it’s not quite working for you. But that result was important for us out there and hopefully now we can build on this and go from strength to strength until the end of the season.

on whether winning the Europa League is our best chance of returning to the Champions League…
Yes, it’s a massive opportunity for us, so that’s something that we’re going to have to be prepared to give absolutely everything for to try and achieve. This game is very important for us and for our season.

on how we'll avoid the complacency that players mentioned after the Ostersunds game…
I think that they’re a quality team. We’ve seen in the first game how good they are. It was quite a tight game even though we came away with a 2-0 victory. They’ve turned a corner as well with their new manager, so they’re on a bit of a good run and it’s going to be important for us to stay focused from the beginning. We can’t take this one lightly at all.

on whether getting past this round would clear a psychological hurdle…
No. I think in that situation we always try but we’ve come up against some really tough, top European teams as well. This will be a great opportunity for us to do that.

on what it’ll do for the confidence of the group if we do progress...
I think we’re into a stage then where anything is possible. You’re a few games away from a potential final. We’ll be giving everything tomorrow to make sure that we’re in the hat for the next round.

on whether he hopes the crowd will return and get behind the team…
Hopefully there won’t be so many empty seats but we’re just focused on going out there and trying to win a football game. Hopefully our performances on the pitch will encourage many to come back.


‘You must respond mentally to the situation'

The last time we faced AC Milan in European competition, we almost pulled off a remarkable comeback.

Trailing 4-0 after the first leg of our Champions League last-16 tie in 2012, we came roaring back in the first half of the second match at the Emirates, and led 3-0 at the break, before failing to convert some presentable opportunities after half-time.

This time, we lead 2-0 going into Thursday night’s match at the Emirates, but Arsène Wenger is keen for his team to use the experience of that night - plus the scare we were given by Ostersunds in the last round - to ensure our focus doesn’t drop.

“We still have to play the game and win it,” he said. “You must win the game even if we concede early, yes of course. It all comes down to the performance. 

“You have to respond mentally to the situation you face. Sometimes in a game you are 1-0 down but you can still win the game.

“This is one opportunity we have and we have to take it. We did half a job in the first game but Europe gives you a psychological problem you have to master. When you have won away from home, you have to finish the job at home but it is not easy because it always puts the team who is playing against you in the position of having nothing to lose. 

“You have to face the fact that the best way to approach the game is to try to win it.”

Press conference

'This competition is at a higher level this year'

With a two-goal lead from the first leg, we are favourites to progress past AC Milan and reach the Europa League quarter-finals.

Arsene Wenger is impressed with the strength of the competition this season, and he discussed that and Per Mertesacker's recent comments in his pre-match press conference.

This is what he said:

on the fact there’s no game straight after this one and if it makes it easier for him to pick a strong team…
No, it’s never easy for me because I always have to leave top players out. Players sometimes have done very well in the last game, so it’s never easy. But you always pick the team that you think has the best chances to win the next game.

on whether it’s better to go further in the Europa League rather than elimination in the round of 16 of the Champions League…
You never compare. You’re right, I want to be in the Champions League and in the Europa League, if you look at the teams that are in there, it is very strong. We play Milan to have a chance to qualify for the quarter-final. You look who is in there [the current round] and there is Milan, Dortmund, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, we have all the French teams, some good French teams. You have many good teams in there and this competition is maybe this season, at a higher level than ever.

on whether that works against us because a lot of people would’ve had us down as favourites when the competition began…
Anything can run against you. What we want is to produce a performance that is expected from us and then you give your best and you have to accept that this competition is very tight.

on Mertesacker’s quotes…
How do I respond to that? I know that. It’s not a surprise to me. To be a professional football player is about facing a huge level of expectation. First of all from yourself because these players are at the level that they are because they’re very demanding with themselves. That creates stress of course, and the huge expectation level from the environment also creates the stress. To play at the level they play at today, you need to have a huge resistance to stress. Somewhere you’re a little bit dependent on your body. To express what you want to do, you always need your body to be at your service and that creates stress because you never know how your body will respond, how well you will feel, how much your reflexes will be there in a game. It’s always an uncertainty that creates the stress.

on Mertesacker saying he would rather never play again…
I think that will go very quickly. Once you stop, after a few months you’re ready to play again. Of course, he has had a very long career. Aaron could confirm this, but Per puts pressure on himself in every single training session. He never plays one minute without being totally focused. That demands a huge amount of effort and it’s why he’s made the career he’s had as well.